Former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
Mike Foss, USA TODAY Sports
Former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris opened up about being a homosexual player in the closet during his NFL career in an interview with CNN Newsroom this morning.
"You want to escape the despair and turmoil and your mind goes to dark places," Harris said of keeping his sexuality secret. "I'm happy today, and I'm glad they were just ideas and I didn't act on any of them"
"The cost was great not speak candidly open about myself in complete manner," Harris said. "If I could have done it differently, I would have hoped I found the strength [to come out]."
Harris was publicly outed days before the Super Bowl in January following an altercation with a former boyfriend. His outing was met with a negative reaction from current 49er wide receiver Chris Culliver.
"I don't do the gay guys man," said Culliver. "I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah...can't be...in the locker room man. Nah."
Culliver later apologized for his comments and visited with an LGBTQ support group.
Harris hopes his experience and example can support others who are struggling with their identity.
"I want people, whether gay athletes, athletes still in the closet, or youths who are not sure what their sexuality is to know those are common feelings," Harris said. "Don't feel alone in having them."